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City fees to take a hike Tuesday

Ben Godar

Beginning Tuesday, it will cost more to adopt a pet, return an

overdue book or swim in a city pool, but officials and citizens seem

to agree that the fee increases will not drive the public away.

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The fee hikes are part of the budget adjustments approved by the

City Council on June 17 to recoup an anticipated $9.5-million deficit

for the 2003-04 fiscal year.

One of the smallest increases may be the one to affect the most

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people -- a 10-cent jump in library overdue fines. The hike from 20

cents a day to 30 cents a day for overdue adult materials is the

first such increase since 1990, and Library Services Director Sharon

Cohen said that was one reason officials felt it would be a good

option to increase revenue.

“It hurts if you keep books out for a period of several days; but

on the other hand, if you get the books in on time, they’re still

free,” she said.

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Library patrons interviewed Thursday said they were not concerned

about the pending increase in library fines. Valissa Nicell, a

Burbank woman who takes her children to the library several times a

month, said the increase would not affect how often she uses the

library.

“I think it’s fine,” Nicell said. “Library fines aren’t that high

anyway.”

While higher fees for adopting a dog from the animal shelter might

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make some people reconsider adopting a pet, Eva Sippel, president of

the shelter’s volunteers, said she believes that will be a good

thing. The cost of a previously altered dog is jumping from $15 to

$25, while the cost of one altered by the city will increase from $45

to $60.

Sippel said the higher fees might make people think a little more

about the responsibility of pet ownership before purchasing an

animal.

“If you don’t have $50 or $60 for the adoption, you aren’t ready

for pet ownership,” she said.

Despite the increase, the Burbank Animal Shelter’s adoption fees

will still be lower than the Pasadena Humane Society, where all dogs

cost $65.

The cost to use the McCambridge Recreation Center and Verdugo Park

pools, meanwhile, will go up $2 for everyone except children younger

than 12.

A more substantial increase, but one less likely to affect the

average citizen, will be a jump in film permit fees, from $200 to

$300 for up to seven consecutive days. While the low cost of filming

is one reason moviemakers come to Burbank, film permit coordinator

Norma Brolsma said she doesn’t believe they will be dissuaded by the

increase.

“That’s still relatively low if you look at other cities,” she

said. “They usually start around $300 to $500.”

Developer fees will also increase, from $2,500 to $4,000, sewer

fees will increase 90 cents per month, and the water rate will

increase annually over five years.


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